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Taoist Alchemy—and the elimination of loss of essence

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Taoist Alchemy—and the elimination of loss of essence

This is an imperfect document it is somewhat densely written and after continued cross-checking with my source materials I am realizing that some of my phrasing and usage of terms differs in some ways from the most finely tuned use of terms that exist in the classical writings.

 

But, in any case, it has enough information to result in a practical understanding of the process of Taoist alchemy. It should be able to confer a general understanding of the process, what it involves, and how it develops. If you are a thorough student of the classics, though, you will probably realize that some of use of terms is a bit informal and at odds with what the books say. My usage of the terms is more connected to the things that happen during the process of alchemy than all the nuances of the supporting theories. But, even so, what I describe here and what the authentic classics describe do coincide (even if nuances of the terms differ) and it should help advance people in their understanding of what Taoist writings and practices are all about.

 

I hope it can stand as a point of reference for people interested in Taoist Alchemy and eliminating the loss/waste of energy through sexual emissions. To that end, it will doubtlessly have detractors and people who will ridicule it. Regardless of that, I am writing this so that people who look to this website will actually have a usable source for the first sections of Taoist alchemical training. Most of what has been written and expressed elsewhere on this site is incorrect (though I commend thelerner’s post in the thread I will be referencing). Though there are (recently, it seems) a decent number of quality posts and posters, however a decent number of others seem ignorant or perverse enough in their dispositions that they corrupt the information that they have received and dissuade people from ever getting involved in legitimate Taoist practices.

 

I won’t make the claim that my information is beyond critique. There are likely areas where my interpretations may be disputed. However, I have set my explanations on a foundation of what can be experienced in the course of diligent practice. As such, I am confident that anyone who comprehends and applies the information here can achieve some level of success from it. It took me years to arrive at a functional understanding of this process and I hope that it can save some people time when it comes to understanding the alchemical process and actually applying it.

 

Anyways---inquiries like these tend to be among the most common that show up on this site before other (presumably well-meaning) members show up to steer the person away from practicing alchemy:

and 

 

The simple answer (to the second inquiry) is that jing-qi-shen interconversions take place pretty much all the time in a limited way in accordance with body cycles and the cellular operations that sustain the body. If you wanted to know more about this, you could benefit from looking into Traditional Chinese Medicine or even some quality sources on Ayurveda (though these would use different pieces of information).

 

For your concern about losing energy through seminal emissions, this is something that is not well addressed in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine has the acknowledgment that jing will dissipate at an accelerated rate when sexual activity is engaged in but it does not (in most contexts) acknowledge that there is a way of not only preventing the loss of jing but also reverting it to its source in order to eliminate disease states and prolong the life (and, if a person is engaged in Taoist Alchemy, using the resources of the body to achieve spiritual immortality).

 

So, for concerns about losing energy through emissions, this is something that can only be remedied through the process of Taoist Alchemy. However, unless you are fully dedicated to pursuing Taoist Alchemy, you will experience an emission sooner or later. This is because the generative and vital energies will only accumulate within the body (and not dissipate through different outlets) if you are dedicated in the practice of the alchemical meditation and can keep track of the internal changes as they are taking place. There are different levels of structure that would need to be accommodated (progressively, during the meditative practice) in order to ensure that the accumulated energy stays integrated and doesn’t leak out.

 

If you are serious about pursuing this, you would need to make a dedicated study of the subject and probably find a living teacher in-person. If you are not serious, then you could skip to a section where I describe a general practice scheme and you can try and see what you can get from practicing it. If you are able to do it successfully, you should at least reduce the frequency of energy loss.

Edited by PassingThrough
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History
Typically, when pursuing Taoist training, it is noted that you should look for living teachers. Though I do not want to detract from legitimate lineages that may exist, I do have to say that most of the teachings that I have seen don’t actually give relevant information. I’ve spent nearly a decade looking into as much of this stuff as I could get my hands on, I have not found any active schools that teach the information that is required for doing alchemy, in-full. As such, I would have to suggest beginning with written sources that are genuine. (And then, with a more thorough knowledge of the process, seeking a living teacher---that way, you can discern whether they will actually be able to help you or not).

 

Generally speaking, the only written resource that we have on Taoist Alchemy (that is complete) is “Taoist Yoga, Alchemy and Immortality”. There are other books that have emerged in recent years that provide good information but, when they are in-depth enough to be usable, it turns out that they actually lean heavily on Taoist Yoga as a source text. For example, Jerry Alan Johnson (a well-known modern day alchemist and healer) has a neigong/weigong manual and the section that deals directly with Taoist alchemical practice lifts almost all of its details from Taoist Yoga. Likewise, Damo Mitchell (with his book, The White Moon on the Mountain Peak) cites and translates a source text near the end of his book which appears to have been inspired by the contents of Taoist Yoga. And even another modern source that can be found on a Taoist website (taoiststudy.com) appears as though it is a re-translation of Taoist Yoga.

 

Anyways, Taoist Yoga is one of the only surviving sources that is complete. Around one hundred years ago, Zhao Bichen was the first person to successfully reconstruct the full alchemical process after consulting over 30 masters. Of the 30 most prestigious masters that he had studied and trained with, only five had enough information to take the process to completion. His work is, effectively, a distillation of a lifetime of training, research, and trial-and-error in order to take the process to its completion. Hence, it is the only surviving work that details the relevant information for the entire process. For this reason, it serves as the core reference for the few legitimate sources that do exist these days. 

It was originally structured after the Hui-Ming-Ching (translated as Cultivating the Energy of Life, by Eva Wong). The Hui Ming Ching outlined the full process correctly but did not provide all of the practical details. The Secrets of Cultivating Essential Nature and Eternal Life (translated as Taoist Yoga by Charles Luk), was written to give the practical details that the Hui Ming Ching excluded. However, a number of conventions of the Chinese language make it difficult to understand (e.g. using complex compound phrases like “to improve your health by eradicating all ailments” when it effectively just means clearing blockages) as well as the loose analogical nature of the technical terms themselves. 

 

But apart from such difficulties, I’ve found that it has been subject to a lot of unjustified scrutiny. Unexpectedly enough, after years of studying it, I discovered that the book actually has guardian spirits. If you are deficient in any major virtues, there are actual spirits who will confound your mind and prevent you from understanding it. So it does take a lot of humility and going back the text in order to make genuine sense of what is says and to consciously get your bearings with what it describes. 

In any case, whether you are deficient in any virtues or not, it is still helpful to consult a number of different sources in order to help make sense of the process. Respectively to this, the best practical sources you could consult for pursuing Taoist Alchemy and eliminating the loss of energy through sexual emissions are:


-Taoist Yoga, Alchemy and Immortality (By Zhao Bichen, Transl. Charles Luk ---found here: https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Taoist-Yoga-Alchemy-and-Immortality.pdf)
-Practical Process of Taoist Internal Alchemy Practice (By Hu Xuezhi ---found here: http://www.taoiststudy.com/taoist_alchemy/whole-process-taoist-internal-alchemy )
-Daoist Alchemy, Neigong & Weigong Training (By Jerry Allan Johnson ---found here: https://bookstore.qigongmedicine.com/collections/books/products/daoist-alchemy-nei-gong-wai-gong-training-final-edition or for free at  “Libgen.is” if you are not opposed to that site and look for it there)
-White Moon on the Mountain Peak, The Alchemical Firing Process of Nei Dan (By Damo Mitchell ---it can be found on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/White-Moon-Mountain-Peak-Alchemical/dp/1848192568 )

 

But, to avoid sending your mind spinning about things that don’t matter, the process of Taoist Alchemy takes place entirely within the practice of seated meditation. There are some helpful things that can be done with qigong prior to sitting for meditation---or after, if you feel it would be beneficial. But, as it turns out, the entire process of Taoist Alchemy develops in accordance with the accumulation and refinement of generative force. All of the important things that you need to know about the practice (aside from how to settle into meditation) will pertain to how you should respond to the natural movements/developments of energy when they happen and different exercises to correct deviations. 

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Overview of the Process
With regards to how the practice scheme will develop, there are two things that should be considered. One is the scheme of exercises to be used, and the other will be the changes that take place as you continue practicing over the course of days, months, and eventually years. Even if you don’t intend to take the practice that far, the beginning scheme of exercises can limit the frequency with which energy is lost. 

With regards to preparation, it is worth having a daily qigong regimen that you do in order to keep the channels open and energy flowing. Specifically, something that can purge and tonify the five elemental phases can be very helpful (as the five elemental phases of qi/vital breath need to be balanced in order for the body have the correct spontaneous responses to energy developments). 

I don’t know who this person is, but the practice that he is demonstrating can provide effective supporting exercises for Taoist alchemy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QYngRrbsKo

Alternatively, if you are invested into this process, then I would highly recommend getting the Tao Tan Pai 31 qigong exercises, which can be found here: 
https://www.taoistsanctuary.org/shop/qi-gong-31-exercises 
I do not have any connection to the teachers or to the rest of the system that goes with it. However, as it is, it is a comprehensive practice regimen that can balance all of the energies of the different organs, open and clear all of the areas that energy flows tend to bottleneck. It can also facilitate the entrance into Samadhi states (the seated exercises, with breath retention, tend to balance the solar and lunar channels which facilitates deep meditation), and it also consolidates the generative force into the lower dantian and perfectly transitions into the seated meditation where you can more fully refine jing into qi. 

 

With regards to the alchemy practice itself---first and foremost, you would need to settle your mind. Limit the wandering of thoughts and also limit any tendencies to pursue exaggerated stimulation of the senses. An efficient way of doing this is to try and maintain a state of awareness in the middle of your head all the time. Keeping attention on the cavity of original spirit (between and behind the eyes inwards a few inches) can prevent the mind from wandering and also keep your senses (and their related energy flows) in check. 

If you wanted additional ways to quiet the mind (in meditation and daily life), you could look into things like Dzogchen, Zen, or the Jhana states in Therevada Buddhism. 

With regards to the meditative posture, the text Taoist Yoga actually describes a half-lotus posture. It is what most people consider natural cross-legged sitting when sitting on the floor but the left leg needs to be the one that is on the outside and “embraces” or is positioned around the right leg. The hand posture basically involves linking the thumb and middle finger of the left hand and positioning the right hand so that its thumb passes through the loop that your left middle finger and thumb have made. The thumb of your right hand will press the palm of your left hand.

In ideal conditions, you should train in order to eventually get into the full lotus posture instead of the half lotus. Though the left “leg on- the outside” tends to be a rule (whether you are doing half lotus or full lotus), it doesn’t matter as much in the full lotus because the increased connectivity of the channels can more readily stimulate the microcosmic orbit and mental stillness. It’s a bigger deal in the half-lotus because energy flows aren’t as intense and the left leg (the yang leg) can facilitate energy flow up from the legs. The increased connectivity of the full lotus also reinforces the open and flowing state of energy in the channels and (hence) can naturally enhance every aspect of this practice. 

 

Gathering the generative force (for sublimation)
Once you are established with a still state of mind, you would then proceed to the core alchemical meditation. This actually begins with gathering the generative force. In a perfect world, this would be achieved by sitting in stillness beginning at 11:00 PM in order to catch the emergence of the positive principle (which transmutes generative force into vitality)  and then gather it into the lower dantian by moving through the microcosmic orbit (it can happen spontaneously at any time from 11:00 to 1:00 if a person is healthy and balanced). Canonically, the sign indicating that the generative force had activated would be an erection. However, depending on the state of your energy, if might manifest as a feeling of warmth around the perineum that you could direct into the spine, move up to your head, drop it to the lower dantian and settle into meditation to refine it further (into prenatal vitality).
Alternatively, you could apply a more forced exercise. Although Mantak Chia is generally a very bad source, it turns out that his first teacher, Yi Eng, was a legitimate one. It was only later (upon receiving sex practices from a martial arts teacher) that he adapted the solitary meditation practices of Yi Eng into the rather perverted system that has become the Universal Healing Tao. In any case, the exercise known as testicle breathing is one that can enable you to gather the generative force without waiting for the spontaneous activation of it (the breathing technique used would turn the jing into jing-qi/vitality). You can probably find a description of it through Google searches (though most of the sites that teach it will teach sex practices which would actually harm your ability to integrate generative force and advance in Taoist Alchemy). 
Alternatively (again) you could perform a modified version of the exercise described in chapter of 10 in Taoist Yoga.  The original would require the spontaneous activation of generative force; the modification I would propose is basically the fully developed form of testicle breathing paired with 36 clockwise eye rotations. Since the eyes activate spirit, it facilitates the movement of the generative force through the microcosmic orbit and into the lower dantian. 
Alternatively (yet again)---if you did invest in the Tao Tan Pai exercises, they are robust enough that they also encompass the gathering of the generative force.

Gathering the generative force in any of the above ways will result in the cleansing and purification of it (as ascent and descent in the microcosmic orbit performs the cleansing and purification). 

 

Freezing Spirit into the Lower Dantian; Consolidating the Substances Gathered There
The next step would need to be the transmutation of the generative force into vitality/qi. This is done simply by sitting in meditation, drawing the awareness into the middle of the head, and the settling the focal point of your awareness into the lower dantian. Once your attention is configured this way, the next thing to do would be to ensure that the breath is smooth and deep. The sensation associated with the breath should be able to reach down to the lower dantian in order to stir the generative force and vitality that are stored there. 

This is the core practice that will define alchemy until you reach the transitional phase where alchemical breathing is no longer used. Under absolutely perfect circumstances, it could be accomplished in less than a year by a male of 16 years of age or by a female of 14 years of age. They could accomplish it in less than a year because they wouldn’t need to restore the generative force, they would simply need to prevent it from dispersing while they are refining it by fire into the immortal seed  (which actually consists of jing chi and shen that are fused together).

 

Gathering the Outer Alchemical Agent
After a while, the training will develop. Up to this point, you will have been accumulating and refining generative force into prenatal vitality. You may or may not have experienced a spontaneous state of arousal in meditation yet. But, when you do experience a spontaneous state of arousal, it will indicate that the alchemical agent is forming. It would be experienced as a vibration of generative and vital forces in the lower dantian. It would also indicate that the generative and vital forces (gathered there) have begun to fuse together with the shen (which is directed downwards during the meditation) in order to form the alchemical agent.
However, when this is happening, there are three types of things that a state of arousal could indicate. If the state of arousal is experienced simply as an erection, you could check to see if it is “genuine”. If it is “genuine” and the result of the alchemical agent forming, then you could direct breath to the genitals and the erection will still remain. If, however, it is spurious and brought on by impurities in the channels, then directing breath to the genitals should disperse the energy and cause the erection to diminish. So, if it is genuine then the correct response would be to increase the level of attention set on the lower dantian and increase the force applied with breathing (though breath should not be labored yet).
If there is a type of arousal and vibration in the lower dantian which feels as though it could result in an orgasm or ejaculation, then this would be the time to gather the outer alchemical agent. This involves, first, blocking the genital gate either by pressing a finger to the perineum or by sitting on your heel. You would then direct attention and the spiritual fire down to the perineum in order to direct the (outter) alchemical agent into the spine. You would also breathe deeply and forcefuly in order to help drive the alchemical agent up the spine. During this, you would follow the microcosmic orbit path. But, you would pause momentarily in order to radiate spirit energy from the heart into the alchemical agent when it gets to the mid-back and to the solar plexus. 

Gathering the Inner Alchemical Agent
Once you have gathered the outer microcosmic agent, you would then need to gather the inner alchemical agent. When the outer alchemical agent formed, it only formed from a partial amount of the generative and vital forces that are stored in the lower dantian. The rest of the generative and vital forces (originally in the lower dantian with the alchemical agent) are still in the body and have dispersed into the channels of control and function (in the spine and front of the body). Another term for these generative and vital forces (when they are not consolidated into the alchemical agent) is “fire” or “fire derived from prenatal vitality”. So, if you only gather the outer alchemical agent and do not collect the fire that has dispersed in the microcosmic orbit, the alchemical agent will not have enough generative and vital forces around it to help it further incubate. For this reason, you will need to gather the inner alchemical agent (which is the “fire” or generative and vital forces that will help cook the outer alchemical agent after it is gathered and (during later meditations) be a substance that will fuse with and grow the alchemical agent when it is time to gather the outer agent again). Additionally (and more importantly), the outer alchemical agent is basically a form of yuan jing; gathering the inner alchemical agent will raise the yang fire in the lower dantian and cause some of the yuan-jing (from the outer agent) to be sublimated into yuan-chi.


As an aside--Sadly, a number of schools emerged thinking that they could bypass this form of training by using sexual practices. That is not actually a viable option. If sexual stimulation is used in order to generate these state of arousal, it will result in multiple imbalances that stem from the over-use of the wood phase of vital breath. One key state, since the liver (the source of the wood vital breath) houses blood is that the blood can become poisoned. 
If paired with deviant mental patterns, sex practices can result in full-on dragon sickness. Unavoidably, though, it will cause vital breath to be incomplete. The criterion of completeness is that all five phases of vital breath (wood, fire, metal, water, and earth) need to be present in a harmonious and balanced form in order for jing chi and shen to fuse into the alchemical agent.
If arousal is elicited by something external (rather than being a spontaneous reaction to the internal fusion), it will be from a reaction taking place within the 5 phases. This has nothing to do with the fusion of jing chi and shen to form the alchemical agent and it will prevent such fusion from taking place.
 It can cause the generative and vital forces to flow in the same circuits but it will not result in the stable accumulation (via fusion) of generative and vital forces in a way that is alchemically useful. Furthermore, when the wood phase is out of balance, it will cause the gathered generative and vital forces to become more reactive to the spirit fire and it will caused the gathered substances to disperse during alchemical meditation.
More immediately, though, trying to stimulate this sensation (with some type of sex practice) draws energy into the genitalia. This, in itself, will prevent the heat and vibration from developing in the lower dantian. It carries no relation to the actual developments that take place in alchemy (which involve the products of the lower dantian fusing and causing the yang principle to radiate, thus causing an erection and signaling the need for the different gathering practices).

 

Holding to the Center to Realize the Oneness/ “Opening the Gate”
After you have gathered the inner and outer agents, the next practice would be to go back to fixing spirit in its original cavity/ causing “calming fire”. Since the alchemical agent has formed from fused jing, qi, and shen, the next phase in training will take place when it is able to emit a stable light. Hence, after you have gathered the outer and inner agent, you will direct your attention into the middle of your head. The jing, chi, and shen of the alchemical agent (most notably, though, the jing chi and shen latent in the yuan-chi) will rise to the head. When they unify in the cavity of original spirit, their unification will yield the light of essential nature. It is a higher order product of the unified jing, qi, and shen that re-emerges from their unification. It is a material similar to the substance of the soul when it had originally attached to the body. 
So, when it appears in front of and outside of you (from the gathered alchemical agents and their constituents radiating light from the cavity of original spirit), you would need to wait for it to be stable. A variant on the microcosmic orbit would be applied at this stage in order to stabilize vitality so that the mysterious gate/original spirit acquires clarity and stability. Once it is stable, it should not immediately be gathered. Doing so would cause some damage to the brain. It should first move away from you and then return. When it returns, it can be drawn into the middle of the brain and made to descend to the solar plexus region. 
A relevant quote describing the circle is that it is “prenatal positive vitality that existed before heaven, earth and all things came into being, which is perfect, bright, pure and clean; with nothing screening it and immune against all contamination. It is the circle (of light) appearing before the eyes, which is true nature exposed by the sublimation of nature and life” (Taost Yoga, pages 74-75). 
---It is the original combined form of jing qi and shen that formed the body originally and then took up residence in the central channel. It dissipates until death for most people; alchemy restores restores it. The description “true nature exposed by the sublimation of nature and life” is what indicates that it is the substance of the soul. The sublimation interaction of nature and life is what uncovers (and makes distinct) the essence associated with the soul prior to its attachment to the body. Hence, it re-opens the capacity for the of the soul to integrate with a body. More specifically, it opens up the capacity for the alchemical pregnancy and birth into a perfect, immortal spirit-body. 

 

My experience with this phase has been shaky and I can not describe it fully---nor can I describe what lies beyond it yet. Repeated gathering of the mysterious gate will provide a way of rooting the substance of the original spirit into the body (recognizable as the light in front of the forehead) and, from here, make it a usable ingredient in the alchemical meditation.  The repeated “gathering” of the mysterious gate should make the appearance of the light (in front of the cavity of original spirit, outside of the head) a constant thing. When it reaches a state of maturity, it would then be driven into the lower dantian. 


These would just form the preparatory steps responsible for conceiving the immortal fetus. They do not yet encompass the gestation period (the development of the fetus through to the point where it can be birthed through the head) nor the sustenance phase that follows, as it acquires independence from the physical body. 
The immortal breathing (described in chapter 9) is made possible by the full restoration of the three treasures (jing, chi, and shen). Hence, it is a co-occurrence with different aspects of this phase of training. It involves a transition to where the bodily processes are driven more fully by the respiration (inhalation, exhalation, and pause) that the internal energy now has (and had when in a prenatal state in the womb)---which no longer has a connection to normal in-and-out breathing. It can surface sporadically when you have accumulated and refined enough of the jing chi and shen and are somewhere around the point of working with the original spirit.
 

 

 

Edited by PassingThrough
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An Explanation of the Theory of Fire

At this point, if you are reading through this material, I am hoping that you would take a level of ownership of this process and the knowledge that goes with it. More specifically, I would hope that you have picked up some Taoist books ---at the very least, Taoist Yoga--- and begun reading them. If you have, one of the most important (yet difficult to understand) chapters in the book is actually chapter 5.

It describes the different forms of fire that are applied during the alchemical process.

 

In all practicality, you do not need this knowledge if you are able to comprehend and use the aforementioned practice scheme. However, if you wanted to get an in-depth study of the theories that go with the practices, clarifiers about the types of fire described should help to provide greater assurance of the correctness of the interpretation present here. Though I won’t explain everything, these pointers should help with understanding the types of fire that are mentioned.

 

The transmutation of the generative force is accomplished by in and out breathing. The alchemical use of breathing in and out will be used until chapter 13. My own experience extends up to chapter seven and the beginnings of chapter 8. So, as far as you should be concerned, you will always be using the alchemical breathing (which should reach the lower dantian). The time when you would stop using it would be marked by 6 signs (seeing the golden light, the two distinct sounds in the left and right ear (dragon’s hum and tiger’s roar), audible vibration in the back of the head, blazing fire in the lower dantian, and the fully retractile genital organ).

 

So, kindling the fire is simply breathing naturally with the long, deep, slow, and smooth breaths which have a sensation that reaches down to (and stirs) the lower dantian.

Leading the fire is basically a variant on kindling the fire. If you are not able to fully settle your mind while “fixing spirit in its original cavity”, you can still drop your awareness to the lower dantian and perform that part of the meditation. However, “leading the fire” involves moving your awareness along the microcosmic orbit in order to draw your awareness inside of your body. You would continue to practice this way until the orbit kicks on automatically and, then, you can settle your mind on the lower dantian to good effect. This is described on page 94 in Taoist Yoga.

Forcing fire with fire is the more forceful breathing pattern that is used to gather the outer alchemical agent. The procedure (and supporting theoretical information) is described in chapter 4.

 

The fires of spirit are used to refine generative force into vitality and also in order to move different substances in the process of alchemy.

Freezing the fire can have two meanings. It can mean either setting attention and the gaze on the middle of the head or it can mean setting the attention and gaze on the lower dantian. In the course of daily meditation, you will always begin by doing the first and transitioning into the second.

Driving the fire relates to the gathering of the inner alchemical agent. It is the first half of the procedure and involves the normal (up the spine down the front) microcosmic orbit paired with the clockwise eye rotations.

Lowering the fire is the second half of the gathering of the inner alchemical agent and it involves the reverse (up the front and down the spine) microcosmic orbit paired with the counterclockwise eye rotations. Both driving the fire and lowering the fire are considered as practices that can open the mysterious gate because (when they bring the “fire” of the generative and vital forces back to the lower dantian to incubate the outer alchemical agent) this helps to remove impurities in the alchemical agent and allows its three components (jing, chi, and shen) to rise to the head to emit the light you gather in chapter 7.

Fire in li is not actually used in alchemy. It is a phenomenon that can happen at any time during the day (though, traditionally, it as associated with noon). It happens when a person’s heart/intent can cause the experience of arousal. If, for example, you are not experiencing a sensation of lust but are, instead, simply having positive affect around someone of the opposite sex, then this can cause energy to project outwards. The systemic state of yang is accompanied by the experience of arousal in the genital region. The purpose of this section is to indicate that this phenomenon is not connected to the formation of the alchemical agent (hence, you should not perform any gathering exercises---though you could still sedate the state of arousal with breathing).

The heart’s fire (also known as evil fire) is a different form of the fire in li. This form is tainted by a type of lustful sentiment. It creates a turbid form of energy that can eventually lead to dragon sickness. It also usually is related to the dissipation of generative force through the eyes. Fire in li, contrary to this, would simply involve the effects of wei-qi around the body and have a lower sense of intensity.

Shifting fire is the specific form of fire that is used during the candle exercise described earlier in chapter 5. It is the type of “motionless change” in fire that begins when the eyes are directed towards the candle’s flame. When a person’s intent is set on the flame of the candle, this application of intent causes the channels connecting the heart to the eyes to dilate. The net result of this is that all of the channels connected to the spiritual fire begin to dilate and this can result in the purification of the body.

It can be used to initiate the fire in the lower dantian if when you are beginning training (because, as Taoist Yoga mentions, it can cause the fire of the heart to descend to the lower dantian).

Calming fire This actually relates to a state of meditation where the spirit is pacified. It clears the senses of their impressions and drives the energy back into the lower dantian. (It relates also to the meditative procedure described in chapter 7—but it is not different, in practice, from the normal daily meditation where you fix spirit in the head and then drop attention to the lower dantian---it just is a reference to the first half of the procedure).

 

The fires derived from prenatal vitality emerge after the generative and vital forces have been gathered and undergo refinement by the shen. They are also what is responsible for movement of the outer agent during the gathering of the outer agent.

 

Circulating the Fire refers to the free-flowing circulation of generative and vital forces that takes place during the gathering of the outer agent. This is the somewhat automatic circulation of the generative and vital forces in the microcosmic orbit. The generative and vital forces that are moving are distinct from the outer alchemical agent (which you can fixate on and move with your intent).

Gathering the fire refers to the process of generating/ripening the outer alchemical agent. Since “fire” can refer to the generative and vital forces in the lower dantian (and it can refer also to the prenatal vitality, which forms as a result of the interaction of the generative force, vitality and spirit) the “true fire” mentioned in the book’s explanation refers to the alchemical agent which forms as a result of the generative force vitality and spirit fusing. Gathering the fire can mean the gathering process itself or the assembly of the generative, vital, and spiritual forces into the alchemical agent.

Fire in Kan relates to vitality and spirit in the lower dantian when they are vibrating. It is the product of the meditation practice and an indicator that jing chi and shen have fused into the alchemical agent and that this agent has ripened to the point where it can be gathered.

Negative Fire (also known as kun huo) would be the vital forces that are able to leave the lower dantian and will help to push the alchemical agent into the spine (this is a type fire that you would gather when gathering the inner alchemical agent). It is also able to transmute the generative force in the testicles and can (to some extent) subsume the practice of gathering the generative force.

Lifting the Fire the raising of the alchemical agent up the spine (which is easy because the “fire” of the generative and vital forces are pushing it upwards as described in “circulating the fire”).

Fire Immersed in Water is a term that refers to the two qualities the generative force and vitality have when stored in the lower dantian. When they are within the dantian, they contribute to the heat that can incubate the alchemical agent (they also can form some of the substance that helps to grow the alchemical agent). When they leave the dantian, however, they turn into a liquid which can be lost. The term can also be interpreted as the product that forms as soon as you begin to freeze fire in the lower dantian. The term brings emphasis to the fact that fire and water in the lower dantian can be volatile and is prone to being lost is a practitioner is not vigilant.

Fire in the stove is a term that applies to the state of the alchemical agent after both the inner and outer agent have returned to the lower dantian. It is through maintaining this fire (with daily meditation and the performance of the gathering exercises as needed) that alchemy can advance.

 

 

Quick Fire and Slow Fire tend to refer to breathing patterns/techniques though there is somewhat muddled usage of these terms when they are applied to describe the candle meditation in chapter five. Basically, they are the martial and scholar fires that are commonly discussed these days. One is slow and smooth, the other is more forceful and quick. They are applied in order to adjust the heating conditions of the lower dantian.

 

Edited by PassingThrough

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Theory of Development and How it Relates to Alchemy

As some general background on physiology, we can look at developmental embryology. The body actually begins to form before the soul integrates with it. In this state, it does not yet have gender. It begins with the element of space and this constitutes the unfertilized womb. Then, upon impregnation, the formation that emerges is basically understood as being the earth element. The earth element is the formative structure that emerges when the ovum and semen of the parents are combined. After this combination, the air element emerges and it causes a three-fold pulse action that forms the basis of all continued life (typically, it is termed exhalation, inhalation, and pause---though it will only be connected with breathing in the post-natal state). After this, the fire element forms and it promotes the division of cells and growth of the body. After this, the water element forms and it disperses the jing essence of the ovum and semen that had formed the original earth phase of the fetus. Finally, the earth element will re-assert itself as the emerging bodily structures acquire rigidity. All throughout this, the space element would be active and function as the potentiator for all of the developments. The space element also serves as the point of transition where a soul could attach to the body. This could take place anywhere after a span of two months. As the body develops, the central channel will have formed and developed from the original energy of the reproductive essence. Within it, the elements will arrange themselves in a seed form and serve as the meta-material basis for the chakras (from the root to the head they would be the muladhara/earth, svadistan/water, manipura/fire, anahata/air, vishuddha/space, Ajna/acquired mind, and sahasrara/soul). Hence, it is through the crown (or, more specifically, the brahmarandhra/cavity of original spirit---which is deeper in the head) that a soul can integrate with the body. (This is also the cavity of original spirit and why it is important in alchemy---the process of integrating your soul with a body is basically replicated with the immortal spirit body that you will build).

 

When a soul attaches to the fetus, it brings a boundless foundational energy that will be with it for the rest of its life. This is the energy of the original spirit. However, it becomes diffuse when it blends with yin spirit/shen and functions as essential nature. It also blends with the body’s energies and is responsible for the development that follows.

-If the soul will manifest as a female, it will express fairly soon through the solar energies of the body. This makes the right side of the thrusting channel (also known as the Pingala nadi in Hindu traditions) the active force responsible for the development of the body. As a result, the Pingala nadi shares a special connection to the heart and is linked up with the blood. The blood/xue, being a yang substance, develops and reaches its peak at the age of 14 and will undergo a decline every seven years until the age of 49 when it reaches its lowest levels (if not corrected/prevented through the different Taoist practices related to breast massage, etc.). --Though it could be sooner or later depending on a number of factors.

-If the soul will manifest as a male, it will express in a delayed manner through the lunar energies of the body. This makes the left side of the thrusting channel (also known as the Ida nadi in Hindu traditions) the active force responsible for the development of the body. As a result, the Ida nadi shares a special connection to the lower dantian is is linked up with the generative essence. The generative essence, being a yin substance, develops and reaches its peak at the age of 16 and undergoes a decline every eight years until the age of 64 when it reaches its lowest levels (if not corrected/prevented through different Taoist practices related to the elimination of sexual emissions). --Though it could be sooner or later depending on a number of factors.

 

In the prenatal state, both the original spirit/soul and vital energies are linked up in the central channel and are united. Prenatal energy is the fundamental energy of the body that keeps it alive. The bodily energy (the original essence from the father and mother which would later become the body’s jing chi and shen) is known as the Prenatal One True Vitality. It exists as a complement to the substance of the soul. It is in this prenatal state that the vitalities of nature (from the soul) and life (from the body) are perfectly unified.

 

After the body develops:

The vitality of nature is seated in the heart and manifests through the two eyes. It originates from the soul, though it tends to exist in a rather diffuse form unless training is specifically done in order to strengthen it. The vitality of Life is seated in the lower abdomen and manifests through the genitals.

 

The vitality of life is defined by the solar and lunar energies which had existed (in a latent form, stored in the central channel) prior to the attachment of a soul. They form the deeper layer of resources that define aspects of the jing chi and shen. Hence, for cultivating life/ming, men would focus on eliminating sexual emissions (as they would deplete the lunar essence) and women would focus on eliminating the menses (as it would deplete the solar essence). Both men and women have solar and lunar essences but the training is specialized because men are more prone to losing one and women are more prone to losing the other.

--As it turns out, women could also damage lunar essence through excessive sex but this is generally less common because (at least in western culture), sexual interactions are often dominated by the pace that a male sets. To avoid going into unnecessary details---since female ejaculations are less common and excessive loss of vaginal fluids was not (historically) a visible concern, they are not considered in traditional literature (wherein the Confucian norms of culture were such that sex was primarily used for reproduction and, hence, losses from recreational excess were not considered common issues that needed to be addressed). Men could also damage solar essence through different organ imbalances (which would manifest as nosebleeds) or through direct blood loss. But, since these are not as common, they generally don’t get a mention in Taoist writings either.

 

Anyways, these two vitalities (Nature and Life) form the base layer that is responsible for all of the transformations that take place in the body while a person is alive. Too much work involving the mind and senses will cause the vitality of Nature to scatter (through the five senses) and cause the mind to be weak. Too many imbalances that set the five elemental phases of qi out wack (whether we are talking about emotional imbalance, dietary imbalances, or the engagement in sex) will cause the harmonious circulation of the elemental qi phases to be impeded; this will make vital breath imbalanced and unable to serve as a stable guide for the body’s systems (and it will eventually result in a monthly, or more frequent, emission). Both nature and life need to be cultivated diligently throughout the entire training process. Initially, it is to restore the body, then to create the alchemical agent, then develop the agent into the spirit body, and finally to use the resources of the body to nourish the immortal spirit body.

 

As mentioned, the vitality of Life will deplete at a rate of one unit per 7 years for women and one unit per 8 years for men (with standard deviations depending on constitution and lifestyle). The positive principle was at a maximum of 6 units when a person experienced puberty. In order to get the light of positive spirit to appear, the 6 units of the positive principle and 384 chu of vitality will need to be restored. At this volume, the accumulated energies represent the entire body at the phase of complete energetic maturity. It needs to remain at this phase in order to form the spiritual embryo. It is also only at this phase (a phase of energetic completion) they you will be able to gather the rays of the original spirit. The rays of original spirit can only be gathered at this phase because the 6 units of the positive principle and 384 chu of vitality also represent the amount that was latent in the fetus when the soul attached to the body. Hence, restoring energies to this volume recreates the conditions for the distinction of the original spirit to re-emerge.

 

Hence, it is only at this point that the positive spirit could be developed and then linked with the immortal seed (crystalized generative force/the alchemical agent) in the lower abdomen. So without this, the actual advanced phases of Taoist Alchemy cannot be reached. The cultivation of the positive principle and integration of generative force and vitality into the alchemical agent (which only takes place with the absence of sex) is what drives the entire process.

 

So (in response to some ideas that have appeared elsewhere in this forum) you should never try to turn qi into jing. Qi has a natural tendency to sink and agitate the lower dantian/genitals center to the point where it will be emitted on a monthly cycle (viz. The process of refining jing to qi means that you are increasing the volume of prenatal energies that exist as a reserve for jing). The only time you would intentionally use qi to create jing is if you are at one of the aforementioned ages (49 for females and 64 for males) and suffer from age-related impotency. The procedure for doing this is known as gathering generative force from vitality. It basically involves a stimulation of the sexual centers in order to bring the five phases of qi into the testicles or ovaries so that their proper functioning can be restored. Mantak Chia’s “scrotal compression” exercise or even the bedchamber arts (which, these days, are used in fertility clinics in China) could be applied to this end.

 

In Taoist alchemy, such practices would be permissible for people who are impotent in order to re-activate the channels in the genitalia. When the genitalia are able to function healthily again, generative force will form naturally once again and they will then be able to begin gathering the generative force and practicing the meditation. No other intentional forms of arousal could be used after that point because it would impede the crystalization of the generative force and make it impossible to restore it to the amount latent during puberty.

In healthy people who are not impotent, there is a natural formation of generative fluids that takes place at a standard rate in accordance with the daily cycling of energy and the types of food that a person consumes. This is what manual stimulation practices are meant to restore and they should never be considered a normal part of Taoist alchemical practice.

 

In Taoist alchemy (the only process I know of that can sustainably convert jing to qi and get you to the summit of spiritual practice), the conversion of generative fluid to generative force takes place through the process of breathing/gathering of generative force exercise. The transformation of generative force into vitality/qi takes place when the fire of spirit is applied in order to “cook” the jing. This basically consists of bringing your gaze inwards and settling the focal point on the lower dantian. When it is paired with breathing---the sensation would be one in which the feeling generated by the in-breath is supposed to reach and stir the lower dantian; the net result will be the generation of prenatal qi that could then either form the alchemical agent (through fusion with the spirit) or dissipate through the genitals (since the lower dantian is linked to the genitals by a channel). The process of alchemy would be to do the former and eliminate the latter.

Edited by PassingThrough

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Daily Practice Scheme

As a practical distillation, here is what a daily routine could look like to achieve what you want (stopping the waste of essence in the form of a nocturnal emission).

 

1. You do some form of standing and moving qigong in order to open the channels and keep thing clear. Ideally it should be something that is known to purify the energies of the organs and keep the five elemental phases in check.

 

2. You gather the generative force. This can be done by practicing testicle breathing (basically, breathe in and let the sensation sink to the testicles so that you can feel energy there and breathe out---repeat until you have a stable sensation of energy in the region; then, from here, breathe in, and contract the muscles connected to the testicles so that you can move the energy up the spine to the head and down to the lower dantian---inhale to raise up the back and exhale to drop down the front). The formal version of testicle breathing has different adaptations you would need to make when encountering different parts of the spine. Alternatively, you could use a variant of what Taoist Yoga describes in chapter 10 and use the eyes to facilitate the movement.

 

3.You do the seated meditation practice.

Generally, you can begin by staring (with eyes half closed) at the tip of your nose and eventually bring your awareness into the middle of your head. You will also tune your breathing so that it is smooth and deep. In an ideal situation you would perform this training (with attention in the middle of the head with neither strain or relaxation) to the point where your mind clears and you are able to see the light of your yin shen and see into your body.

---But, in practical terms, almost nobody accomplishes this with regularity.

If you can’t do this fully (most people can’t) you would then drop your awareness and trace the microcosmic orbit in order to draw your awareness into your body and set the microcosmic orbit into an automatic level of activity. Once it can move on its own, you would settle into your meditation (this is described in Taoist Yoga on page 84).

 

Depending on a number of factors, you could do a number of things at this point.

3.a. You could go directly into the main meditation where you bring your awareness down from your head and settle it into the lower dantian. When your awareness is settled, you will breathe in and out making sure that the sensation associated with the breath can reach to the lower dantian. You do this until the lower dantian heats and vibrates---which it should after some time (it could happen within a session or after multiple consecutive days of training). ---each session of this should be around an hour with attention set on the dantian and your consciousness falling into a state of indistinctness (but never actually losing consciousness).

3.b. If you know or suspect that you have accumulated blockages during the day (and they weren’t taken care of by the moving qigong), you could perform meditation in front of a candle and stare at the flame until tears flow from your eyes. This provides a way of clearing out blockages and cleansing the generative force because it stimulates the spirit energy of the heart to expand and fill the channels (which breaks up blockages and transmutes the generative force). If you do this, you should follow it up (when you’re ready) the main seated meditation involving drawing the gaze inwards and setting it on the lower dantian and breathing smoothly so that the breath reaches the lower dantian.

--Alternatively (as a beginner) you could use this technique to help start the sense of fire in the lower dantian (and, hence, it could be used as a preparatory practice for the normal meditation in 3.a.).

--Note: a recommended practice time for staring without blinking is 15 minutes as a minimum. You will probably blink during that time---but, the practice will be more time-efficient if you reduce blinking to the point where it doesn’t happen.

3.c. If you feel a sort of numbness, you could move your attention along the 8 psychic vessels. Basically, it’s described in Taoist Yoga chapter 3 and is pretty common. From here you would go back to 3.a. Every session needs to have 3.a. as the main thing (ideally for at least an hour morning and evening).

 

4. If you have practiced 3.a. and experience some form of arousal, you will need to determine if it is from the condensation reaction involving the five phases of vital breath, generative force, and spirit. You do this by getting the breath sensation to reach the genitals. If you do this a few times and the state of arousal is not diminished, then it means that some level of the condensation reaction is taking place and you should apply the moderate fire (intensified attention set on the lower dantian and more forceful breathing) in order to speed the conversion of jing to qi.

If you have done this a few times, it should eventually get to a point where you have accumulated enough prenatal vitality (from the converted generative force) and have enough condensed vital breath+prenatal qi that the alchemical agent can form. This experience will show itself as a type of peak arousal and you should block the genital gate with a finger, drive the spirit and intent down to the perineum and push the intent and contents of the lower dantian up the spine. The condensation reaction actually forms a more dense substance which serves as the basis for what is known as the immortal seed (which is the accumulated and refined generative force that is responsible for all future spiritual developments in meditation). You will need to pause at the mid-back to purify the agent with the energy of the heart. Then continue and lift it to the head. Then drop it to the solar plexus and purify it with the energy of the heart again. Then drop it to the lower dantian.

 

5. If you have done that successfully, you would then perform the eye rotations (which move the ascending and descending generative and vital forces that did not condense into the alchemical agent). The gathering of the outer agent effectively an alchemically usable form of yuan-jing. The gathering of the inner agent (rotating the eyes in conjunction with having your intent cycle through the microcosmic orbit---36 times clockwise and 24 times counterclockwise), will bring generative and vital forces back to the lower dantian (with added intensity from the spirit, which is activated by the eyes). This will result in yuan chi forming from the yuan-jing of the outer agent. When enough yuan-chi forms, it will naturally ascend to the head. 

 

6. If enough yuan-chi is cultivated so that it can ascend to the head, it can (when enough have accumulated) lead to the emergence of the mysterious gate. It is also known as the White Moon on the Mountain Peak. If you practice diligently, you will eventually get to that point. When that happens, you will “hold the center to realize the oneness of heaven and earth”. The oneness of heaven and earth is achieved by the turning of the gaze inwards (similarly as when fixing spirit in its original cavity) so that you can see the light of the mysterious gate (but it should appear in front of you and not just inside your head). This generally happens after you have passed through all of the aforementioned phases in a meditation session. When this happens, you will eventually get the light to appear in front of you. It will need to move away from you once before you can gather it (otherwise it will cause pain in your head) but, when you draw it into your head, you will strengthen the energy of the positive spirit. It will then be dropped to the solar plexus. You could read chapter 7 of Taoist Yoga for more information.

 

7. When the light of the positive spirit is sufficiently strong, it will be driven into the lower dantian

 

8. If you get to this phase, you should either have a teacher or have spent a lot of time studying legitimate alchemical texts like Taoist Yoga/The Secrets of Cultivating Essential Nature and Eternal Life. I am not here yet and could only give a theoretical account of what to do. For this reason, I will defer to the authority of scriptures and legitimate living teachers.

 

As side notes: You should be doing 1. 2. and 3. every day. All three should take place in succession during an evening session. During a morning session, you could get away with just doing items from #3. The advanced steps will take place as needed and in accordance with developments that take place with the energy. And, after you’ve done a complete evening session (steps 1-3 and beyond as needed) you should look into the types of sleep training that are described in Taoist Yoga beginning on page 94. They should help you to sleep lightly and gain repose if the positive principle is to stir during the night.

 

As additional side notes, there are different things that will happen during the training that could seem disconcerting. The sense of sexual arousal will take place naturally in response to the accumulated energies. This can happen during the day if your channels are unclear and different forces in the environment draw the energy sporadically. It can also happen during sleep because an ultimate yin-state of consciousness prompts the emergence of the yang principle. And it can also happen in deep meditation when you accumulate generative and vital forces and (again) the deep yin state prompts the emergence of the yang principle.

 

If it happens during the day, it can be sedated by breathing and moving the energy in the microcosmic orbit. In these cases, since it will usually be mild, the breathing pattern used in Testicle Breathing can be used to draw the energy up the spine and return it to the lower dantian in order to sedate the aroused state. If it happens while asleep and you gain awareness of it, the appropriate reaction would be to clear the mind and direct the fire of spirit to the genital region and breathe in and out in order to raise the energy (up the spine) and prevent an emission. It is the same as the procedure for gathering the outer alchemcal agent. However, in the course of diligent training, your morning and evening sessions should provide the opportunity for the positive principle to emerge while you are awake (and, hence, be less of a problem while you are asleep).

 

If it happens in meditation (and it should, with time, happen regularly), then you do what is described in step 4 here.

 

If you experienced any of the indicators described in thelerner’s post/quote, those would actually be addressed in the way described in the post. They indicate that you should have spent more time in the meditation and that the contents of the lower dantian have lost heat and will likely disperse as an emission if you lose consciousness. Therefore, the correct response would be to enter into meditation to transmute/consolidate the substances in the lower dantian.

 

This constitutes the general practice regimen that Taoist Yoga describes/requires. It covers the information from the first 10 chapters (minus the immortal breathing). All other details in the book take place within this framework of training. It could take a year or more in order to get the light to appear, depending on how diligent you are in your training and what your starting place is. Later on, training will adjust when you advance to the states described in chapter 12 and 13 of the book.

 

If you decide to pick up the Tao Tan Pai 31 exercises (I highly recommend it), it is a very efficient way of blending the things outlined here in steps 1-3. The steps beyond 1-3 would happen naturally if you are diligent in a morning and evening practice and meditate in the manner described for at least an hour in each session. The key point is that mindfulness should give way to mind-lessness. Only a relaxed form of awareness should be present during this training. Stray thoughts should go away; it will just be awareness and the energy. And, in the course of the seated meditation, you should eventually fall into a state of indistinctness. The state of indistinctness is a yin state where the positive principle should emerge and you will be able to do the things described in #4. Stillness of body and stillness of mind are key points to the meditative process.

 

 

Edited by PassingThrough
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Study Guide to Taoist Yoga Chapters

Since Taoist Yoga is my main source text for describing the above practical routine and outline of the process, I am expecting that any sincere practitioners are going to take the time to study it. Since most of my descriptions are oriented around the specific things that you can experience while practicing the alchemical meditation, I realize that it is probably worth my while to provide a general reading guide for people so they can more readily make connections between what they may experience during practice, what I have written, and what the text discusses.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the chapters do not limit themselves to a discussion of technique. My short post entitled “Overview of the Process” was meant to provide an outline that would focus more directly on the techniques and how they develop. When the text discusses the techniques, it does so from a perspective that has already experienced the fruits of the practices. Hence, when it discusses the practices, it discusses what they will develop into. This is actually very important if you want to understand the theories and why these specific training protocols are required in order to advance in alchemy. However, since a beginning practitioner will not have experienced these things yet, they tend to be reference points that are not readily usable.

Anyways, for the sake of facilitating understanding, I will provide a general overview of what the first few chapters mean. I hope it can clarify some points that might be confusing.

1. Fixing Spirit in its Original Cavity

This chapter is focused primarily on meditation and stilling the mind. The first paragraphs detail how a sitting practice should develop. It is also mentioned in the chapter that you should reside in a state of quietude while not specifically sitting in meditation. Many people make the mistake of thinking that mental quietude and pacified thoughts in daily life are the equivalent to enlightenment. That is not the case. A still mind is what enables a person to actually begin doing the real training.

If spirit is fixed in its original cavity during meditation and your mind attains perfect stillness, you should be able to see a light in the middle of your head. This would be the light of the yin shen. Part of the first chapter becomes confusing because it discusses how this first phase parallels developments that take place after you have fully restored the jing, qi, and shen and transmuted them into the alchemical agent. Hence, the light that you can actually achieve from “fixing spirit in its original cavity” is not the same as the light that will appear outside of your head when you have fully restored and transmuted the body’s energies.

That being said, most people can’t immediately attain the level of stillness wherein the yin shen appears. Hence, it is mentioned later (much later, lamentably) that you can use the workings of the cauldron and stove in order to pacify the mind. If you cannot attain a level of stillness wherein the light of the yin shen appears in the middle of your head, you can do the practice described on page 84 (which is basically tracing the microcosmic orbit to draw awareness inside of the body).

2. The Microcosmic Cauldron and Stove

This chapter is not too confusing but it can become difficult to understand if you try to understand it by consulting later chapters. This chapter actually deals with the firing process (as discussed in Damo Mitchell’s book “The White Moon on the Mountain Peak”. It deals (basically) with the basics of energy anatomy, the theory for why generative force needs to be gathered, and the meditation procedure. One thing that can be confusing is that the apparent microcosmic orbit practice that it describes is in fact an exercise is designed for impotent people who are using some type of manual stimulation in order to generate the generative force. If you are not impotent, then you have no need for using any type of manual stimulation and (hence) would not need to use the practice described. Furthermore, if you are not impotent and do try to use manual stimulation, you would actually be degrading any stored up energy that you have in order to draw out the generative force and animate the genitals. Hence, it is acceptable for impotent people because it can open up the channels of the genitalia and re-activate the body’s ability to naturally produce generative force---but it is counterproductive for anyone else. Once they can generate the generative force naturally, the practice would be dropped (since it would damage the pre-foundation that they had rebuilt and prevent them from actually setting the real foundation by restoring the body’s energies to the level present at puberty).

 

It is in this chapter that it mentions that the signal for beginning practice (for healthy, non-impotent people) is that the genitalia will experience an erection. This (typically) would be the sign of energy moving deeply in the kidneys and it would be the natural signal prompting the beginning of the practice (wherein you move the sensation to the perineum and then draw it a ways up the back, up the microcosmic orbit, and down to the lower dantian. You would do a few turns of the microcosmic orbit in order to gather the generative force/vitality (other sources would call it jing-qi).

As mentioned before, Mantak Chia is generally a bad source for any information related to Taoist Alchemy. However, the testicle breathing exercise is actually a decent technique that can manually gather the generative force and enable you to make use of it even if you don’t have the sense of timing required to catch the spontaneous erection in a practice session. Hence, for reasons of convenience, I would tend to favor its usage. It could be done in the traditional style (as explained in Mantak Chia’s books) or you could try and do it using the eye movements described in chapter 10 of Taoist Yoga instead of the different spinal movements described by Chia.

Additionally, the movement exercises in the Tao Tan Pai, 31 basic exercises are also effective for gathering the generative force into the lower dantian and sealing it there.

 

So, any of these methods could be used to gather the generative force for sublimation into prenatal vitality.

 

The sublimation procedure is basically settling the awareness on the lower dantian for the “joint cultivation of essential nature and eternal life”.

 

One of the things that confused me at first was when it described the ascent of positive fire and descent fire in one breath. Fire, in this case, simply refers to the generative and vital forces that constitute prenatal vitality; in this context, it is a signal for the fusion of the governing and conception vessels. It is also a detail that should give a full indication that this chapter deals with the firing process (as it is generally understood in modern schools).

 

Although it is possible to keep the state of openness that emerges after the fusion of the governing and conception vessels even if celibacy is dropped afterwards, it is not possible to advance in alchemy without celibacy. Most people, after reaching this point, will tend to depart from the process of alchemy and will, instead, turn to different forms of neigong where they will continue to expand their channels through the development of qi and the extension of their shen. Though these things can be helpful for the continued clearing of blockages and settling into the different capabilities of the energy body (as you become aware of them) they do not have anything to do with alchemy. Ultimately, if you are focused purely on the refinement of your body and spirit for the goal of purifying your soul and creating the immortal body, all further nei-kung practices are disposable. The accumulation of generative force and the transmutation and purification of the body’s resources into the alchemical agent will naturally create an energy that causes the rest of the channels in the body to open. It would basically, in a less focused way, accomplish indirectly what qigong and nei-kung accomplished through directed exercises.

 

3. Clearing the Eight Psychic Vessels

This is basically what it sounds like. The eight psychic vessels encompass the microcosmic orbit and will eventually (through the accumulation of generative and vital forces) lead to the activation of the macrocosmic orbit. It is an exercise that can ensure the free-flowing of energy and also clear the way for the energetic movements that will happen when the alchemical agent begins to form and its components move. It is the only type of conventional neigong that is actually necessary for ensuring smooth developments in response to the accumulation of generative force and vitality.

 

4. Gathering the Microcosmic Outer Agent

Most of the theory described in this chapter is not essential for the performance of the exercise. The beginning theory relates (actually) to the consolidating method that can only take place in perfect stillness. Hence, the early chapters connect some of the basic meditation principles (withdrawing the senses, stilling the body and mind, keeping the five phases of vital breath in balance, etc.) with the conditions that will need to be present when you get the mysterious gate to appear (as detailed in chapter 7).

Something that confused me when reading this chapter was that I conflated the gathering of the outer agent with the mention of the spontaneous erection described in chapter 2. These two chapters actually describe distinct things. The first chapter relates to the stirring of yang in the kidneys which (if testicle breathing is used instead of waiting for the natural stirring of the energy) is not necessarily a required part of the training. It is distinct from the erection that can result from the transmutation of the substances gathered in the lower dantian into prenatal vitality. The fully mature form of one session of fusion would be when heat and vibration are felt in the dantian and it would seem as though a peak orgasm would be experienced. There isn’t actually any orgasm with this---at least, if you apply the gathering procedure correctly there won’t be an orgasm.

 

When you direct the spirit fire from the lower dantian through to the perineum and up the spine---these things in conjunction with the yang principle itself will cause the energy to sublimate. It will cause heat to rise in the spine. There should also be a tangible unit that your intent can fixate on. This would be the outer alchemical agent and it is what you would move up the spine and down the front of the body (stopping at the mid-back and solar plexus in order to radiate spiritual light from the heart into it).

 

*In this chapter, the eye movements refer to your inner gaze moving to the different points on the microcosmic orbit.

 

5. Quick and Slow Fires

This chapter follows the gathering of the outer agent because it both provides an overview of the procedures described and what they will develop into. It also (at the beginning of the chapter) describes a candle meditation. The candle meditation can accomplish multiple things. First and foremost (and you would corroborate this by looking int the Shat-Karmas of classical yoga), it is a cleansing exercise. If you have any major problems in the vital breath of the organs, the spontaneous erection (either from the time-dependent activation of the generative force or the ripening of the alchemical agent) will not take place. Additionally, the open eye state can stimulate the spirit energy of the heart and cause it to descend to the lower dantian (hence making it easier to perform the transmutation of jing into qi). This is a significant chapter and it does relate to the first half of the complete alchemical process. However, I feel that I have adequately dealt with it in my above post entitled “An Explanation of the Theory of Fire”.

 

6.Gathering the Microcosmic Inner Alchemical Agent

This chapter does not require too much explanation. For me, it was a bit difficult to understand initially because I lost track of the fact that “fire” was a term that referred to the generative and vital forces that helped to move the outer alchemical agent when it was being gathered. Hence, for a while, I was a bit at a loss for what the eye movements are supposed to do. The exercise is basically the forward microcosmic orbit done 36 times and paired with 36 clockwise eye rotations. The eye rotations move the generative and vital forces (which had dispersed into the spine during the gathering of the outer agent) up the spine and down to the lower dantian. Then it would be followed up by the reverse microcosmic orbit done 24 times and paired with 24 counterclockwise rotations. (the reverse microcosmic orbit is what helps to invigorate the spirit).

 

The first half of the exercise (done for a total of 36 times) is to be broken down into four sections of nine revolutions—which, after each set of nine, you would direct your attention into the middle of your head to check if you can get the mysterious gate to appear (viz. get a light to appear in front of your head). The second half of the exercise (done for a total of 24 times) is to be broken down into four sections of six revolutions---which, after each set of six, you would direct your attention into the middle of your head to see if you could get the mysterious gate/light to appear.

 

However, if you are pressed for time, you do not necessarily need to perform the gazing into the middle of the head. You could simply perform the 36 and 24 orbits+rotations.

 

The exercise is important because if the fire stays dispersed in the governing and conception vessels, the alchemical agent won’t undergo further refinement and it will eventually leak out (due to the separation of its constituents from a lack of heat and pressure from the other generative and vital forces).

 

It can get the light to appear for a number of reasons. When the outer agent was gathered, the practitioner had basically generated enough yuan-jing that they would be able to perform an additional alchemical transformation on it. When the “inner alchemical agent” is gathered, this increases the yang fire and enables the yuan jing to raise up a phase to the point where it becomes yuan qi. When a practitioner would “hold to the center”, they would then bring about an empty state of mind so that the yuan shen / original “yang” spirit can manifest (and be gathered).

 

*In this chapter, the eye movements refer to the cardinal points which would correspond to points that are not necessarily on the macrocosmic orbit. Point A would correspond to the lower dantian, points D and J would (respectively) correspond to nine and three O-Clock if you imaging a clock-face in front of you (with the center of it fixed on your nose). G would correspond to the third eye region.

Alongside of this, your intent would be moving alongside the actual microcosmic orbit and be distinct from the points that the eyes settle on. However, the letters that describe points on the microcosmic orbit and the letters that describe where the eyes look should be met at the same time when doing the exercises. (i.e. you begin with eyes on the lower dantian and intent at the perineum; you progress with eyes looking to the left and intent at the mid-back. Then eyes would be up to the third eye (or crown, it doesn’t make much of a difference) and intent would be on the crown; then eyes would be to the right and intent would be to the solar plexus. Then it would repeat, in the case of the first exercise).

 

7. Holding on to the Center to Realize the Oneness of Heaven and Earth

In my notes to the prior chapter, I have already details some of this. Your attention is set into the middle of your head and your spirit is stilled in order to withdraw all sense impressions. When your spirit is empty and your body is still, you will get to the point (upon drawing the pupils together) where the great unification (originally discussed on pages 27-32) takes place and you begin to see the light of your original spirit. An indicator that you are nearing a phase where you have enough of the generative, vital, and spiritual forces to get the light of your original spirit to appear will be the frequent appearance of different flashes. This sensation is fairly common, I think, and it is similar to if you were in a room and someone immediately turned the lights on and off. Although (instead of being a sensation of light disappearing) it would be somewhat similar to lightning because you would have experienced a flash brighter than normal and it would have then returned to normal.

In any case, this sort of thing would probably become common place (sporadically in daily life) prior to getting the mysterious gate/light of original spirit to appear.

I have seen this light but I have messed up the training and subsequently lost it.

From the text, when it appears it will likely be weak. You would then need to use a form of microcosmic orbit in order to stabilize the vitality in the lower dantian. You would need to stabilize the vitality in the lower dantian because it is up from the lower dantian that the jing chi and shen are moving to the head and radiating their lights. When the light is a stable circle, it will need to move away from you before it can be gathered. In “White Moon on the Mountain Peak”, Damo Mitchell describes this phase and that he gathered it too early (and experienced the pain in his head). So it is definitely possible to get tot his phase, but it is also kind of easy to make mistakes.

8. Plunging Spirit into the Lower Dantian Cavity

I’m not here yet but it would be after the original spirit/ positive spirit (gathered at the third eye region and anchored there from the gathering of the mysterious gate) would be driven into the lower dantian to trigger the beginning of the real alchemical pregnancy.

9. The Immortal Breathing or The Self-Winding Wheel of the Law

I am not here yet. Although, in accordance with what Damo Mitchell has described, I have experienced some of the beginning phases where natural breathing is being replaced by the dynamics of the energy. It is somewhat disconcerting when it happens because your actual breathing will stop taking place on its own. This will usually happen in meditation but it has also happened to me outside of meditation. One of the main ideas in this chapter, though, is that you would use the immortal breath instead of the alchemical in and out breathing when you become stabilized in the advanced forms of training (and alchemical breathing with in and out breaths in no longer needed).

10. The method of Gathering Vitality

The original method (and the phrasing in this chapter indicates it since it does not mention vibration in the dantian or the sense that energy would be about to flow out) would begin with a spontaneous erection sometime (usually) between 11:00 and 1:00. This sort of thing would constitute the general midnight practice when generative force is gathered.

As mentioned earlier, if testicle breathing were practiced and a person acquired proficiency, it could be used instead of waiting until the spontaneous erection. Furthermore, if a person had the Tao Tan Pai 31 exercises, they would also probably not need to wait until the spontaneous erection.

So, for my application of the exercise, it would basically be Mantak Chia’s account of testicle breathing plus the 36 eye rotations in order to consolidate the generative force and close the lower gate.

It says that gathering vitality can ensure its free circulation and gathering generative force can hold it in reserve for purification. This is because vitality naturally distributes in the eight psychic channels when it is brought to the lower dantian and generative force (in the state of jing0qiwhen brought to the lower dantian) can be refined by fire (and allow the lower dantian to be heated without being damaged---as boiling an empty vessel can damage the vessel).

When it says to do microcosmic orbiting, it means the procedure described on page 84.

Edited by PassingThrough
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Endnote

--Apart from this, (if you had the time or interest) you could try out any other chi kung, nei kung, or internal martial arts that you may have an interest in. They won’t actually do any of the important aspects of the process discussed above but they can help to keep the energy channels open and provide a way of exploring different sensitivities, skills, and dynamics that the energy can have. But, altogether, no other practices are necessary. If you interest is solely in the progression of the deep spiritual aspects of Taoism or simply eliminating the waste or misuse of sexual energy, then the simple above regimen should suffice.

 

There are also many groups that carry the pretension that consciousness only is required for spiritual progress. Relative to what Taoism is about, its goals can not be achieved any other way than what I have outlined above. The developments of “consciousness” would relate to your shen’s ability to integrate with different psychic capabilities. It does not (in any significant way) relate to the actual restoration of your body and soul so their essences can be fused into an immortal spirit body that harmonizes with pure emptiness and thus transcends reincarnation. (However, if you do follow the Taoist training in full, all of the psychic abilities will open on their own after a certain point.)

 

Though I don’t want to sound discriminatory, Hindu sects are particularly notorious with aforementioned mistake. However, if you could find a teacher that has genuine information about advanced yogic transformations (and about how to get a silver disk to appear in front of the third eye region and, over time, transform it into gold), then their practice regimen should be functionally equivalent to the Taoist alchemical process. Sadly, most do not have such information any more.

 

All things considered, most of what I have written are high-flung considerations that are well beyond the capacities of many people (here) to realize. If any interested people practice the steps 1-5 listed above, they can prevent the unnecessary loss of jing and chi and enjoy a long life free from the illness and karmic defilements that can occur from sexual activity. This, to me, would be a wonderful thing to have people achieve and I would be exceptionally happy if even just one person had the moral integrity and professional dedication to apply what is written here to that end.

I could write another long text about demonology and exorcism detailing (from yet another angle) why sexual morality is of extreme importance. But, most would regard that as superstition since it would require a certain level of clairvoyance to verify. And, furthermore, it’s not my purpose to beat people over the head with information in order to make them change their ways. This document is for people who are virtuous enough to recognize the importance of chastity and that it should be perfected through meditative practices.

Hence, it is more important that people of decent virtue have a the necessary information to advance spiritually. The rest would not not necessary information unless people (for some reason or another) felt drawn towards some form of deliverance ministry.

 

At the very least, this is a usable reference for people genuinely interested in preserving their essence. I hope it will be accessible so that sincere seekers are not misled by things that have been published elsewhere (formally in modern books and informally through mediums like this forum). If nothing else, the information supplied should be enough to help a prospective reader of Taoist Yoga to understand the text.

 

May God bless you on your path.

 

 

 

[email protected]   I appear to have reached the limit of new posts I can make (this is a new account). I am a researcher and practitioner of this stuff. The above writings are written by me. It's a collection of different things I have learned over the span of about a decade. For that reason, there are probably hundreds of different sources that deserve credit for the information. But, when I wrote it, it was primarily off the cuff regarding my own experiences with heavy leaning on the Taoist Yoga text.

 

Note: I don't intend this to be a dialog. I've written it so that interested people can check it out if they so wish. Though I won't claim that it is without flaw, it can provide a practical solution to the situations that many people come here to ask questions about.

 

For that reason, my intention was simply to make the information available. Though I won't rule out the possibility that I may respond to feedback, I currently do not intend to write anything more on this site. 

Edited by PassingThrough
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Did you write this or do you have a link for the original source? I can google it I guess but if you are posting other material then you should provide a link, as often the other format is easier to read. thanks.

 

 
Quote

 

Luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly: loss of essence. .... outside of Strangelove's dystopian breeding criteria: gender inequalities are eliminated ...

 

 
Edited by voidisyinyang
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1 hour ago, PassingThrough said:

Taoist Alchemy—and the elimination of loss of essence

This is an imperfect document it is somewhat densely written and after continued cross-checking with my source materials I am realizing that some of my phrasing and usage of terms differs in some ways from the most finely tuned use of terms that exist in the classical writings.

 

But, in any case, it has enough information to result in a practical understanding of the process of Taoist alchemy. It should be able to confer a general understanding of the process, what it involves, and how it develops. If you are a thorough student of the classics, though, you will probably realize that some of use of terms is a bit informal and at odds with what the books say. My usage of the terms is more connected to the things that happen during the process of alchemy than all the nuances of the supporting theories. But, even so, what I describe here and what the authentic classics describe do coincide (even if nuances of the terms differ) and it should help advance people in their understanding of what Taoist writings and practices are all about.

 

I hope it can stand as a point of reference for people interested in Taoist Alchemy and eliminating the loss/waste of energy through sexual emissions. To that end, it will doubtlessly have detractors and people who will ridicule it. Regardless of that, I am writing this so that people who look to this website will actually have a usable source for the first sections of Taoist alchemical training. Most of what has been written and expressed elsewhere on this site is incorrect (though I commend thelerner’s post in the thread I will be referencing). Though there are (recently, it seems) a decent number of quality posts and posters, however a decent number of others seem ignorant or perverse enough in their dispositions that they corrupt the information that they have received and dissuade people from ever getting involved in legitimate Taoist practices.

 

I won’t make the claim that my information is beyond critique. There are likely areas where my interpretations may be disputed. However, I have set my explanations on a foundation of what can be experienced in the course of diligent practice. As such, I am confident that anyone who comprehends and applies the information here can achieve some level of success from it. It took me years to arrive at a functional understanding of this process and I hope that it can save some people time when it comes to understanding the alchemical process and actually applying it.

 

Anyways---inquiries like these tend to be among the most common that show up on this site before other (presumably well-meaning) members show up to steer the person away from practicing alchemy:

and 

 

The simple answer (to the second inquiry) is that jing-qi-shen interconversions take place pretty much all the time in a limited way in accordance with body cycles and the cellular operations that sustain the body. If you wanted to know more about this, you could benefit from looking into Traditional Chinese Medicine or even some quality sources on Ayurveda (though these would use different pieces of information).

 

For your concern about losing energy through seminal emissions, this is something that is not well addressed in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine has the acknowledgment that jing will dissipate at an accelerated rate when sexual activity is engaged in but it does not (in most contexts) acknowledge that there is a way of not only preventing the loss of jing but also reverting it to its source in order to eliminate disease states and prolong the life (and, if a person is engaged in Taoist Alchemy, using the resources of the body to achieve spiritual immortality).

 

So, for concerns about losing energy through emissions, this is something that can only be remedied through the process of Taoist Alchemy. However, unless you are fully dedicated to pursuing Taoist Alchemy, you will experience an emission sooner or later. This is because the generative and vital energies will only accumulate within the body (and not dissipate through different outlets) if you are dedicated in the practice of the alchemical meditation and can keep track of the internal changes as they are taking place. There are different levels of structure that would need to be accommodated (progressively, during the meditative practice) in order to ensure that the accumulated energy stays integrated and doesn’t leak out.

 

If you are serious about pursuing this, you would need to make a dedicated study of the subject and probably find a living teacher in-person. If you are not serious, then you could skip to a section where I describe a general practice scheme and you can try and see what you can get from practicing it. If you are able to do it successfully, you should at least reduce the frequency of energy loss.

 

Considering your fixation on the problem I would recommend you instead focus on the solution - you can see my "pink elephant" thread in the men's cultivation section. Also this thread should be moved their by the mods.

 

You refer to "emissions" (i.e. male ejaculation) some 15 times.

 

 

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On 9/9/2019 at 4:35 PM, PassingThrough said:

 

Note: I don't intend this to be a dialog. I've written it so that interested people can check it out if they so wish. Though I won't claim that it is without flaw, it can provide a practical solution to the situations that many people come here to ask questions about.

 

For that reason, my intention was simply to make the information available. Though I won't rule out the possibility that I may respond to feedback, I currently do not intend to write anything more on this site. 

yeah this is a forum which definitely means a "dialog" - so if you post something you wrote then people are gonna tell you what you think and expect some kind of response that isn't just a dodge.

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